When I was in elementary school, the movie Back To The Future II premiered. Marty McFly had once again teamed up with Dr. Emmett Brown (Doc) and had been sent into the future, 2015 to be exact. In the movie, we get a little glimpse of what the future might look like… cars will be able to fly and skateboards can hover over the ground. Well, 2015 is less than 4 years away, so… where are all of the flying cars? Where are all of the hovering skateboards? Where are all of the robots?
As a technology facilitator for a school district in the St. Louis area, one comment that comes up from educators is, “This is just one step closer to a computer taking over our jobs.” I normally respond with a laugh and move on. I am not sure how serious they are, but one thing I am sure of is that- computers will not replace a teacher, but an educator who is integrating technology into his or her classroom will replace an educator who is not! Technology is here and it is not a fad that will disappear. It is not a trendy concept. It is a resource that is completely revolutionizing the way our students learn and how we teach. With the invention of the Apple iPad and Android tablets, the look of the computer has changed, but it is still an active learning resource.
I am a firm believer that training is one of the most important pieces in the technology integration equation. Technology without the training is meaningless. Many studies have shown that effective integration of technology into teaching and learning can result in higher levels of student achievement (ACOT2 – http://ali.apple.com/acot2). “Effective integration” means not merely using technology for technology sake, but rather having a plan, a purpose and effective training which guides our decisions.
Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to attend some amazing workshops and outstanding conferences that are part of Cooperating School Districts’ Virtual Learning Center. I have attended and presented at the Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC) multiple times, taken part in the Technology Leadership Academy (TLA), and participated in several workshops. Every opportunity has provided me with the training for supporting instructional learning and technology integration in the classroom.
McFly and Doc might not have been able to accurately predict the future, but technology is here and enhancing student learning and achievement in the classroom. Seek out every training opportunity that is available to you. Be the teacher who models being a lifetime learner by continuing to seek new ways to integrate technology into the lives and education of your students.